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Storytelling Through Technology and Media

This presentation provided an opening look at the topic of digital-age storytelling in museums, with an emphasis on web and social media outreach and the ways in which museums can be both storytellers as well as platforms for stories. I served as moderator for the panel discussion which featured 3 other case studies from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of American History, and the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground
The Cutting Edge of Public History: New Directions in Interpretation Symposium
March 28, 2018

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Storytelling Through Technology and Media

  1. 1. Storytelling through Technology and Media The Cutting Edge of Public History: New Directions in Interpretation Symposium March 28, 2018
  2. 2. Storytelling through Technology and Media Exhibition Films Digital Archive of Oral Histories Student-Developed Vodcasts
  3. 3. About Me Dana Allen-Greil Chief of Web and Social Media National Archives Formerly: ● National Museum of American History ● National Gallery of Art Adjunct Museum Studies faculty: ● Johns Hopkins University ● Georgetown University @danamuses
  4. 4. Reflecting on 15 Years of Digital Stories
  5. 5. Why Storytelling in Museums? “Storytelling works because it helps the visitor create a narrative frame on which to hang the facts and images encountered. It’s like a structure made of Velcro just waiting to grab facts and images onto itself. Story structure is an innate part of human consciousness and central to the way we organize knowledge. The visitor does not have to create something new or external to integrate the knowledge transmitted through story. Storytelling takes away the stress of learning and creates receptivity and emotional readiness.” - Liz Warren, Kathy Eastman, Sandy Oglesby The Docent Educator * Museums = my shorthand for institutions of public history, art, culture, heritage tourism, etc.
  6. 6. How Do Museums Tell Stories? •Exhibits •Objects •Label text •Audio •Video •Interactives •Immersion in “narrative spaces” •Tours •Live humans •Audio •Mobile •Programs •Discussions •Costumed interpretation •Theatrical performances •Publications •Books •Websites •Blogs •Podcasts •Social Media
  7. 7. Conflict Plot
  8. 8. Character development Scene setting
  9. 9. Plot
  10. 10. Conflict
  11. 11. Climax
  12. 12. Resolution …?
  13. 13. Call to action / hyperlink Hashtag Mention
  14. 14. Who Tells Stories? “Everyone tells stories about themselves and uses stories to understand the world around them. Key storytelling techniques such as setting the scene, building to a climax, or twist in the tale, are familiar to most of us through books and theatre. As everyone has the capacity to tell stories it also helps break down the division between the expert delivering knowledge to a passive receptive audience.” - David Francis and Sam Gayton in partnership with the British Museum
  15. 15. How Can Museums Be a Platform for Stories?
  16. 16. Scene setting
  17. 17. “Over time, what digital has done is, it’s evolved storytelling–it’s taken it away from the hands of just authors and publishers, and it’s brought it to everyone. So, obviously technology made it easier for anyone to create content ...and it also gave us platforms that let stories spread wide and far...methods of engagement that dwarf everything that came before, unprecedented ways to immerse yourself in a story, and to offer interactive stories.” -Samir Patel, “A Framework for Digital Storytelling in Museums,” MuseumNext How Is Storytelling Changing in a Digital Age?
  18. 18. Digital Age Storytelling “Superpowers” “Digital-aged storytelling gives museums superpowers to tell bigger and more complex stories—stories that cannot be told through a single point of view. Within digital-age storytelling, visitors are able to create their own connections.” - Philip Tiongson and Annie Polland See for more on this topic, including helpful framing presentations by Dr. Amelia Wong.
  19. 19. Why Do Stories Matter? “...stories have the power to change people. That change is why we tell stories, and we tell inclusive stories because it’s impossible to hate someone whose story you know.” - Matthew Solari, “Creating the Inclusive Museum Through Storytelling,” Museum Next
  20. 20. The records in the National Archives tell the nation’s stories...what the public will do with them is limitless.
  21. 21. Zora Neale Hurston There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.
  22. 22. References ● British Museum. Talking Objects: Storytelling (2014) ● Patel, S. “A Framework for Digital Storytelling in Museums.” MuseumNext (2015) ● Solari, M. “Creating the Inclusive Museum Through Storytelling.” MuseumNext. (2015) ● Warren, L., Eastman, K., and Oglesby, S. “Storytelling: Invoking the Muse,” The Docent Educator (Autumn 2003) ● Wong, A. et al. Digital Age Storytelling Toolkit (2016)